South Africa’s ruling party, the ANC is no doubt being torn apart by an internal rift mostly surrounding the leadership of Jacob Zuma.
This rift widened as the party’s chief whip in Parliament, Jackson Mthembu publicly ordered party leaders, especially President Jacob Zuma to step aside so the party and the country could regain their stand.
Jackson Mthembu said on Sunday that members of the National Executive Committee, including Zuma and his deputy Cyril Ramaphosa, should all step down from the party’s decision-making body.
This comes at the time the party suffers rift escalated by court charges against the finance minister Pravin Gordhan which is largely seen as a move by the president to remove him from office.
Mthembu’s public comments signaled a deepening crisis in the ANC’s leadership at a time when the government is battling to stave off a credit-rating downgrade to junk.
Like many other, Mthembu described Gordhan’s court charges as a pursuit for political reasons. “…that’s why I’ve then said, perhaps we are not the leadership that can take the ANC forward under these conditions,” Jackson Mthembu said on Enca television.
“President Jacob Zuma is the president of the ANC. When I said the entire ANC leadership that has already taken collective responsibility must take the fall, I meant everybody, myself included, including president Zuma,” he said.
As the country move close to 2019 general election, it is obvious the ruling party has been overwhelmed by fear of what it would become
Unemployment, economic stagnation and scandals around Zuma led voters to punish the ANC in the local government vote, changing the outlook for national elections in 2019.
The NEC has for a long time now been able to shield Zuma from series of scandals since he became president in 2009 but his time, members of the party seem weary of the fact that the party will in no time fall to its knee if nothing is done.
To all the mishaps overshadowing the ANC, political analysts say we shouldn’t be surprised that there is a growing gap between Zuma and the rest of the ANC.
“Their interests were once aligned, but this is no longer. Zuma’s interests do not appear to lie in actual governance, and in finding solutions to problems like funding higher education, growing the economy and a better life for anyone but himself. The ANCs interests now lie very much in all of those issues, because they could be out of power in 2019.
Like Andrew Mlangeni – a political mogul and current chairperson of ANC integrity committee – analysts believe unless something radical and unexpected is done, SA democracy and economy will continue to be drowned while temperatures will rise and anger will simply grow more intense.